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Council race: Don't be so quick to turf out incumbents, says Kirwan

Consider the knowledge that comes with experience, he asks voters
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Ward 5 incumbent Robert Kirwan. (Supplied)

Ward 5 incumbent Robert Kirwan is encouraging voters to consider voting for their incumbents because of the knowledge that comes with experience.

Most of the incumbents were voted in only four years ago, and are only becoming experienced municipal politicians now, he said.

“The time for change was in 2014, and voters certainly did show this at the polls,” Kirwan said.

“But you need to give councillors time to gain experience and knowledge so that they can be the agents of change they were elected to become. If you make changes again so soon, is this really in the best interests of your ward or of the city?”

He adds that after the election this month, there will be a maximum of one member of council who has been in place longer than four years. 

“If that person is not re-elected, there will be no members who have served for longer than four years,” Kirwan said. 

Knowledge means everything when it comes to your ward councillor, he said.

“The more experience your councillor has along with the increased knowledge that comes along with this experience, the more effective he/she will be when you call for assistance with constituency issues,” he said. 

“The more experience and knowledge he/she has the more insight he/she will have when dealing with major decisions at city council.”

Full text of Kirwan's release can be found below:

I have noticed a number of mayoral and city councilor candidates promoting the slogan "It is time for a change" as they try to convince voters that there is a need to change the composition of the current city council.

This begs the question, "Is it really time for a change?"

As the incumbent Councillor for Ward 5, I can tell you that now is not a good time for wholesale changes on City Council. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I am seeking re-election.

In 2014, eleven of the thirteen members of Council, including the Mayor, were new to Council from the term before. That was considered a wholesale change. And for the past four years, this Council has made more decisions and established more revised master plans, policies and initiatives than any other Council since amalgamation. 

The new Councillors have spent the past four years getting to know the "ins and outs" of all 60 different business streams that are provided under the umbrella of the Corporation of the City of Greater Sudbury.

So, after this four-year training program where it was basically a learn by the seat of your pants experience, is there any reason to change your representatives? That is what you must ask. Is it really a time for a change in your ward?

The time for change was in 2014, and voters certainly did show this at the polls. But you need to give Councillors time to gain experience and knowledge so that they can be the agents of change they were elected to become. If you make changes again so soon, is this really in the best interests of your ward or of the city?

After all, when you consider that at the end of the election in October, there will only be a maximum of one (1) member of Council that will have been in place for longer than four years. If that person is not re-elected, there will be no members who have served for longer than four years. 

If your Ward representative has been doing a reasonably good job, then why would you even consider a change at this time and put in a new person who will have to spend the next four years learning all over again?

When it comes to your Ward Councillor, don't kid yourself, experience and knowledge mean everything. The more experience your Councillor has along with the increased knowledge that comes along with this experience, the more effective he/she will be when you call for assistance with constituency issues. The more experience and knowledge he/she has the more insight he/she will have when dealing with major decisions at City Council.

After spending four years in office, I can tell you that it takes experience, knowledge and commitment to be an effective representative on City Council. Anyone can have commitment and passion. But commitment and passion without experience, knowledge and the skills necessary to put that knowledge to work isn’t going to get you very far in this day and age.

So before you accept a candidate's call for "change,” do some hard thinking. Has your current Councillor done such a bad job that he/she should be removed for someone else? Will a new Councillor with no experience and limited knowledge about the system be able to provide a better collective voice for your ward and be able to advocate on your behalf  more effectively than the incumbent? These are critical questions that you should ask yourself before voting in this election.

So don't be too quick to accept the call for "change.” Change is good if it is needed. But change for the sake of change seldom works out well. You need to give your Mayor and City Councillor time to gain valuable experience and knowledge so that their commitment is put to good use. 

More from Robert Kirwan can be found on his election page on Sudbury.com.




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